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“Pathways for Native Students: A Report on Washington State Colleges and Universities”

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  1. Presentation for Association of Am Colleges & Universities Diversity Conference on Facing the Divides: Diversity, Learning & Pathways to Inclusive Excellence October 21-23 2010 Presenter: Barbara Smith, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA “Pathways for Native Students: A Report on Washington State Colleges and Universities”

  2. Partnership for Native American College Access and Success ProjectFunded by Gates and Lumina Foundations • Northwest Indian College • The Evergreen State College • Grays Harbor College • Antioch University-Seattle • Muckleshoot Tribal College

  3. Who Wrote and Why Who – • An inter-agency group that represented 4 years, 2 years, regional Indian college, tribes, state government and researchers Why – • Mis-information and gaps • Need for comprehensive look • Need for combining of data • Need for combining of Best Practices

  4. Why is this Report and Strategy Different ? • Produced by the schools themselves as a collaborative effort • Cross-sector – K-20, private and public, 2 year - 4year • A whole institution view (Student Affairs and Academics) • Tied to a dissemination strategy

  5. Agencies, Universities, Colleges, and Tribes Work Together • Lots of efforts to involve all at multiple levels • Lots of efforts to circulate info • Lots of efforts to get feedback from all • Lots of efforts to find and include other’s research • Lots of efforts to find & involve key researchers • Lots of effort to get beyond the choir

  6. Leveraged - • Used a Writing Team that Created Leveraging Opportunities • People and Positions • Numerous Contacts Pooled • Money • Vestment • Build position power • Build investment • Make Commitments

  7. Environmental Issues/Need • WASL pass rates • Rates of Native going from HS to college plummets • Continuing HS dropout rates very high • Tribal economies growing and diversifying • Tribal Councils wanting to employ tribal members

  8. Taking Advantage of Convergent Opportunities • Legislative studies on the achievement gap (From Where the Sun Rises report) just released • Convergence with tribal recognition that education matters MORE • Tribes feeling that they can influence education – passing of HB 1495 • Government to Government cooperation framework established

  9. Decisions about how to tell the research-based story • Stories – that make it come alive • Pictures • Data • Lively Narrative • Historical Context • Stress Best Practices • Stress Needed Arenas of Work • Called out Exceptional Schools

  10. How was the Research Conducted? A Strength-Based Approach to Encourage Dialogue • National Center for Educational Management Systems • IPEDS • WA State Higher Education Coordinating Board • State Board for Community and Technical Colleges • Tribal Statistics • 44 of Washington’s Colleges and Universities • Institutional Profiles • Best Practices • Lessons Learned

  11. How the Research was Done • Probed existing data bases • Disaggregated data, took existing data sets and reports, and reorganized • Template Out to all Colleges and Universities • Multiple Levels of Contact • Persistence - took real effort to gather the information • Had to get to the right person • Usually had to have presidential support

  12. Institutional Profiles • Statistical profile of Native American/ Alaska Native faculty, staff, and students • Academic courses & programs focusing on Native Americans • Public service programs and initiatives focusing on Native Americans • Student support services and student organizations focusing on Native Americans • Best practices and lessons

  13. Native Participation in Postsecondary Education in Washington State Approximately 7500 Native American Students are enrolled in Washington Colleges and Universities

  14. What do we know about Access & Success? • College access, retention & completion rates low • K-20 pipeline issue • Disaggregating data impt • Stopping out common • Gatekeeper classes should be a key focus • Basic studies/Dev Ed • Interventions work • Variation within population

  15. 12 Recommendations 1. Create/support vehicles to foster collaboration • Support mechanisms for tribes to share • Washington leaders must make greater investment • Tackle financial barriers to college that remain significant • Institutions must pay attention to the needs • Build the pipeline - bridging the gaps between the sectors (K-12 and two-year and four year colleges) • Find effective approaches in gateway courses/key transition points • Find successful approaches in underrepresented fields • Diversifying the faculty and staff is a key element in student success • Make linkages between needs of Native students and other underserved populations to more efficiently address service and awareness gaps • Maintain a long term focus on Native student success • More research and data is needed to fully understand challenges and effectiveness of institutions and programs. Involve Native stakeholders in holistic evaluation strategies, continuous improvement and dissemination.

  16. A Report is Only a Report Unless… • People Read & Act on it • Widely Circulated to the Right People • Reaches Important Opinion Leaders & Change Agents • Has a Dissemination Strategy • Backed up by Influential Funders

  17. Productive Competition • Bandwagon Effect • Don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Many ideas transferable • Comparisons and Contrasts • Surfaces Hidden Gems • Showed Programming that was Innovative and Works

  18. Dissemination Strategies and Feedback • Pathways Conference -Where, why & impact • Mail to Institutions & Tribes -Top down and bottom up • Suggested Distributions Lists -Libraries, IR , VPs, Tribal orgs, councils/ed Offices, Agencies, Foundations, Gov Office, OSPI • Convening role groups • Presentations

  19. Impacts • Awareness Raised • Governors Indian Office • Indian Education Offices using as guidance • Other States asking to repeat process • Got beyond the choir • Am Indian Graduate Magazine & elsewhere…

  20. Responses to the Pathways Report • Value rating of 4.81 on 5 point scale • 98% would recommend to others • Of special value: best practices, data all in one place, comprehensiveness, stories, institutional profiles, contact information, seeing how institutions are working together

  21. Why Is Diversity Not Discussed More? • Commitment Shallow at Various Levels • Financial Pool Threatened • Misperceptions about what is doable • Advocates isolated from the decision making structure • Roles seen in a narrow way • Need to remake org geography

  22. Is this Project Repeatable?? • Other Groups • Other States /regions/provinces

  23. Questions Barbara Leigh Smith, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA smithb@evergreen.edu